des·​e·​crate | \ ˈde-si-ˌkrāt How to pronounce desecrate (audio) \
desecrated; desecrating

Definition of desecrate

transitive verb

1 : to violate the sanctity of : profane desecrate a shrine a cemetery desecrated by vandals
2 : to treat disrespectfully, irreverently, or outrageously … the kind of shore development … that has desecrated so many waterfronts …— John Fischer

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Other Words from desecrate

desecrater or desecrator \ ˈde-​si-​ˌkrā-​tər How to pronounce desecrator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for desecrate


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Examples of desecrate in a Sentence

The vandals were accused of desecrating graves. vandals desecrated the cemetery last night by covering the tombstones with graffiti
Recent Examples on the Web To destroy a monument is to desecrate our common inheritance. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Trump to establish National Garden of American Heroes," 3 July 2020 Gibson launched the Church Defensive Initiative, which says churches will prosecute any vandals or agitators to the full extent of the law, including seeking hate crime designations for any attempt to desecrate church property or religious symbols. Fox News, "Pastors vow to ‘defend’ houses of worship, ‘not allow Christian heritage to be erased’," 26 June 2020 Not much that Trump could say would substantiate that claim more perfectly than a vow to desecrate ancient treasures of the Persian civilization. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump's threat to Iranian culture rekindles the 'madman' theory of international relations," 7 Jan. 2020 Construction of one of the world’s largest telescopes on Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, has been stalled by project opponents who say the telescope will desecrate land considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians., "Trump orders GM to make ventilators," 27 Mar. 2020 Swastikas and desecrated gravestones and anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogues and schools and playgrounds and cemeteries. Hara Person, Time, "My Mom Warned Me About Anti-Semitism. I Didn’t Fully Understand Until Last Year’s Synagogue Shooting," 25 Oct. 2019 Steer people who may be enraged away from actions that could desecrate the memory of the deceased. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sharpton looks to comfort families after police shootings," 19 Oct. 2019 But this postseason configuration would desecrate and extinguish the sanctity of baseball’s 162-game season. Globe Staff,, "NBA and MLB show us what change for the worse looks like," 11 Feb. 2020 Through more than a decade of protests, Nosie kept his focus on nonviolent means to drive public opinion against the observatory, which Apache elders said would desecrate areas on the mountain deemed sacred. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "Apache activist Wendsler Nosie followed a lifelong path to Resolution copper mine protest," 15 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desecrate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of desecrate

1675, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for desecrate

de- + -secrate (as in consecrate)

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Time Traveler for desecrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of desecrate was in 1675

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Statistics for desecrate

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Desecrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for desecrate


How to pronounce desecrate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of desecrate

: to damage (a holy place or object) : to treat (a holy place or object) with disrespect


des·​e·​crate | \ ˈde-si-ˌkrāt How to pronounce desecrate (audio) \
desecrated; desecrating

Kids Definition of desecrate

: to treat a sacred place or sacred object shamefully or with great disrespect

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